The sister of murdered MP Jo Cox offered her solidarity to the family of Sir David Amess, saying it “breaks my heart” that another family has had to face the same experience as her own.
Speaking as the House of Commons paid tribute to Sir David, who was fatally stabbed while meeting constituents at his surgery on Friday, the Labour MP Kim Leadbeater recalled hearing that her sister had been attacked, and the period afterwards, which she described as a “rollercoaster of deep trauma that no one should have to experience”.
Jo Cox was killed in 2016 when she was shot and stabbed by a neo-Nazi outside her constituency surgery a week before the EU referendum.
Speaking in the Commons, Ms Leadbeater, who now represents the same seat occupied by her sister – Batley and Spen – said she did not know Sir David Amess personally, but said he “was clearly a well-respected and much loved colleague to many people in this place”.
She said: “It’s been a traumatic few days for many people, none more so than David’s family and friends, and it’s they who remain at the forefront of my mind this afternoon.
“But sadly I know from my own all-too-similar experience that in reality there is nothing anyone can say to make things all right for them. But nor is it any use to stay silent.
She added: “I do have a unique perspective on what those closest to David are going through and I want to send them my love, support and solidarity, from myself, my parents, our family, and the people of Batley and Spen.
“I have blocked out much of what happened when Jo was murdered, but I remember very clearly the moment I took the phone call saying she had been attacked. I remember physically trembling, and the visceral pain that overtook me.
“And it breaks my heart to think that another family has had to experience that phone call, and the nightmare which follows. It’s a rollercoaster of deep trauma that no one should have to experience.”
Ms Leadbeater said she understands Sir David’s family “will still be in utter shock”, but said that at some point she hopes they will hear the tributes paid to him on Monday, and that they will “provide a morsel of comfort amidst their pain”.
The leader of the Labour party, Sir Keir Starmer, also raised the spectre of Jo Cox’s murder while paying tribute to Sir David.
He said: “We are united in our grief at this terrible time. We are thinking of David and his family. We are thinking once again of our dear friend Jo Cox, who was killed just five short years ago.”
He added: “And I know that honourable members and their staff would have spent the weekend worried about their own safety. The emotion is the same across the House. But I remember just how acutely Jo’s loss was felt on these benches.
“So today, on behalf of the entire Labour Party, I want to reach across and to acknowledge the pain that’s felt on the opposite benches, and I do. Of course our differences matter, after all that’s what democracy is about, but today we’re reminded that what we have in common matters far more.”
Labour MP Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford) said: “Jo (Cox) said to us we have more in common than that which divides us. David showed us how to do that, because whilst he had disagreements with pretty much every one of us, he also had the unerring instinct of finding what it was he had in common with each and every one of us as well.”